Erik has two puzzles out today – a themed crossword for the ever-amazing American Values Club (subscribe here), and THEMELESS 41 on Glutton for Pun. Get your geek on here, then read on for the review.
The first thing that jumps out about this grid is the happy
face jack o’lantern (oh right, Halloween) which creates large lonely spaces in the corners (53 black squares overall!) and several blocks of three-letter words. Some of the small fill is great, especially how it’s clued: [Partner-ship?] for ARK and [High number, for short] for GPA. Other three-letter entries, on the other hand, weren’t great (UNL OCR RND).
The grid layout also allows for some solid 9s, 11s, and 13s, plus the grid-spanning TAMPER RESISTANT (clued as [Not to be @#$%ed with], which left me trying several times to get TEMPER-something to fit). New to me were LAMONT SANFORD (and his show’s British predecessor “Steptoe and Son”), PAPAYA DOG (guess drinking some fruit juice might counteract some of the carcinogenicity of the frankfurter – thanks, WHO), and PASSACAGLIA (which looks Italian because it’s the Italian form of the Spanish “pasa” and “calle”).
I loved the misdirecting clue for PANCAKE MAKEUP [Floury foundation?] (kept trying to make PANCAKE BATTER fit), and while a little morbid, AUTOPSY REPORT had a solid clue as well [Final exam paper?]. The only longer entry I can’t figure out is [Escape room notice?] for PARKING IN REAR.
The face’s forehead and bridge of the nose were probably the most difficult for me. I left the last letter of AXILLAS blank for a while, as I’m used to AXILLAE, Either way, I don’t think the term is commonly used outside of medicalspeak, so the last letter might not have been the issue for other solvers. ADNOUNS – [The bold and the beautiful, e.g] – was new to me, but I was able to suss out the answer from the crossings. The N in YOGINI, on the other hand, was a guess and my last letter placed in the grid. Did not know what Hathavidya was, did not know what a yogini was. If this site contains an accurate description, though, it sounds Rather Awesome.
Overall, a fun solve and a learning experience as always. Let’s close with the video for SIA‘s “Elastic Heart.” It’s strange, but Maddie’s Ziegler’s dancing is captivating.